POSTECH Developed Thermally Stable and Flexible Ion Conductor That Uses Water as a Solvent

Published : Wednesday, February 5, 2020, 2:58 pm
ACROFAN=Seunghee Shin | | SNS
 The spread of new coronavirus infections has put more emphasis on quarantine and prevention than ever before. When detecting changes in the body, the first thing to be measured is body temperature. At that time, it is very important to measure quickly and accurately.

POSTECH(Pohang University of Science and Technology) developed polymer ion conductors that can be stretched and wrinkled. They are required for implementing temperature sensors that can measure body temperature with simple touches, such as wearing clothes or shaking hands, or circuits of the actuator that control artificial muscles.


A team of Korean researchers led by Professor Taiho Park and Junwoo Lee of POSTECH has developed the first thermally stable and flexible ion conductor using water as a solvent in collaboration with the research team of Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. The research results were published in the cover paper in the online edition of "Advanced Materials", a prestigious journal in the field of materials.

Semiconductor devices used in most electronic devices have a problem in that electrical performance deteriorates due to mechanical stress when they are stretched or shrunk. In addition, when silver nanoparticles are coated on rubber, the process is not only difficult but also not transparent. When ions are bonded to hydrogels, there is a limit such as loss of flexibility.

The research team designed a polymer chain of P(SPMA-r-MMA) polymers with different proportions of ions and connected the ionic materials with chemical bonds within the polymer chain. As of ion conductor, developing the process of solution at room temperature is the key. The polymer ion conductor developed this time was thinned by a solution process using water as a solvent. The process became much simpler than before, and it is eco-friendly and mass-producible as it does not use toxic solvents.

Chemically connected ion conductors are flexible as well as maintaining heat resistance.Besides, they have been confirmed to have self-healing properties that restore structure even when torn or damaged. Using the ion conductor, the research team first implemented a flexible body temperature sensor that can be applied to the human body and an actuator circuit that can operate stably at up to 100 °C.

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